Mia: Shaken Not Stirred

The true life stories of a NYC female.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I’ve been forced to change my opinion

She was six and he was eight when they met in elementary school.
There was something different about him she sensed, she’ll accept me he sensed. From day one they were inseparable; they shared everything from lunch to nail polish.

In junior high school he did something amazing, he ”came out”. At the age of twelve he had the balls to do something many adults never have the courage to do. He said out loud what many had suspected and what Caitlin had known since first grade, Jose was gay. More than that he felt he was a girl in a boy’s body and began taking tentative steps to living his life as a female. Caitlin nicknamed him Christina after their favorite singer. The instant the first insult was thrown at Jose Caitlin was there to lay a verbal beat down on the person who dared to spew hate. She also developed a wicked left hook in response to those who wished to go beyond the verbal. Her hands on approach to Jose’s defense earned Caitlin the nickname “The Pit bull” a nickname that still follows her to this day.

Eventually the kids at school with a lot of prompting from Caitlin and school staff accepted Jose. Not all but enough and those who didn’t accept what he was learned to keep their hate to themselves unless they wanted to deal with the wrath of a tiny strawberry blonde and Jose’s many in school advocates.

They dreamed of having their own fashion line and every afternoon they’d hang out in Caitlin’s room designing and sewing outfits and handbags Caitlin would eventually wear to school. Jose sought refuge in Caitlin’s home. He was accepted there, he wasn’t so lucky at his own home. His mother attempted to beat out the “gayness” out of him with whatever she could lay her hands on bible, belt, broom, bats nothing was off limits when it came to beating the demon she felt resided in Jose out of him. The school took notice and Children’s Protective Services was called in and Jose was removed from his home.

He was shuttered from foster home to foster home for several years. In high school he found a loving home that accepted him and wanted to adopt him he also began attending the Harvey Milk High School. Jose now known as Christina was taking steps to become a woman and was living life as a young female. She was thriving and Caitlin was at her side every step of the way.

One year ago December several days had gone by without Caitlin hearing from Christina. Caitlin was worried; they usually spoke several times a day every single day. All of Caitlin’s calls were going straight to voice mail.

It was late Christmas night when Caitlin got the call. Christina had been killed several days earlier. She’d been the victim of a gay bashing. My sister grew up that night. If I ever doubted that a broken heart could be heard my doubts were laid to rest that night. What followed were months of depression and crying at the mere mention of Christina’s name.

Last week my sister finally visited Christina’s grave. It was a sort of closure for her. The very next day she took part in a school debate on gay rights. There had been no plans for her to take part but when she heard anti-gay rights sentiments being expressed on the podium she couldn’t hold back and begged to be heard. What followed was an impassioned speech that came from the heart. When she was done she was given a standing ovation. I was told that there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience. She’d moved them, even managed to make some re-think their stand on gay rights.

Once upon a time I thought my baby sister was born to make the world a prettier place. I’ve been forced to change my opinion. Caitlin was born to make changes in this world and it has nothing to do with her artistic talent.

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